Great Business Relationships are Derived from Great Conversations. Those Conversations Aren’t Always Easy Ones… Start a Difficult Conversation by Focusing on What You Have in Common
If you think about some of you most impactful, genuine, and meaningful business relationships you have today, they haven’t always been rosy! What makes our relationships real is a healthy dose of conflict, struggle, disagreements, differing points of view, all of which we recover from and elevate the relationship to a new level. A new level of understanding, trust, confidence that this colleague is reasonable, logical, and even emotionally in check to broach a tricky topic.
You learn that your first few sentences can make or break the discussion, and set the tone for the relationship moving forward (or not). Defensive postures are a natural reaction in our fight or flight mental evaluation, as is blaming others. What makes the conversation particularly difficult is when you imply that the other person is just outright wrong!
Success will come from establishing common grounds between the two of you. Agree where your respective desired outcomes overlap. Use “we” and “our” language vs. “me” or “my.” Ask questions to clarify and further understand where they’re coming from. Explain why something is important to you and try to learn from them of what possible common grounds they may see. Collaboration for sake of collaboration is a waste of time! Collaboration to make the end result dramatically stronger, better, or help you get there faster, is priceless.
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